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SMALLMOUTH BASS Look to War Axe, Johnson, McConaughy and Blue, as well as the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska, for smallmouth bass. BLUE CATFISH Pawnee, Medicine Creek, Elwood, Swanson and Branched Oak are places to find blue catfish, but look to the Missouri River in southeast Nebraska for the biggest blue cats, potentially some weighing triple digits. FLATHEAD CATFISH Flatheads can be found in the Missouri River, as well as in reservoirs such as Harlan, Sherman or Branched Oak, and in the Tri-County and Loup canal systems. All flatheads at Branched Oak must be released immediately after capture and anglers should consider releasing big cats on other waters, too. SAUGER The best sauger fishing will be on Lewis & Clark and the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska, but Johnson Reservoir and the Tri- County canal system also have good numbers. YELLOW PERCH Some of the best fishing for this tasty and popular panfish will be found at Home Valley, DeFair, Clear (Brown County) and Frye lakes in the Sandhills. West Long on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge and Rock Bass and Boardgate ponds on the Oglala National Grasslands will also offer great perch fishing. NORTHERN PIKE Sandhills lakes are some of the best pike habitats and, once again, lakes on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge – Dewey, Pelican and Hackberry – will be some of Nebraska's most popular pike fisheries. Smith Lake Wildlife Management Area will be good this year, but do not overlook reservoirs such as Box Butte, Merritt and Wanahoo (catch- and-release only). Reservoirs in southern and eastern Nebraska such as Wanahoo typically are too warm for the cool-water northern pike, but Wanahoo is relatively new and has some pike habitat. BULLHEAD Bullheads are a great fish for beginning anglers, as they are almost always willing to bite. Bullhead fishing will be particularly good at Czechland, Wanahoo and Burchard reservoirs. MUSKELLUNGE To catch this large, toothy "king of freshwater sport fish," anglers should target Merritt, Calamus and Wagon Train reservoirs, as well as Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area No. 20, and Grand Island's L.E. Ray Lake. TROUT Nebraska has waters capable of supporting cold- water fish year-round. This is where anglers can find rainbow, brown, brook, and even cutthroat trout. Most of the cold-water trout streams are found in western and northern parts of the state; East Branch of Verdigre, Long Pine, Soldier and Ninemile creeks are perennial favorites. In 2017, rainbow trout fishing at Lake Ogallala will continue to be good, and anglers might even catch some cutthroat trout from the White River in the Pine Ridge. Photos: NGPC/NEBRASKAland Magazine Box Butte Reservoir northern pike

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